By Shyam Ravindran in New Delhi

The Indian navy could be poised to order 18 Hawk 100-series advanced jet trainers (AJT) from BAE Systems, and is also continuing talks with the British government over the possible acquisition of eight ex-UK Royal Navy British Aerospace Sea Harrier FA2 fighters.

Around 30 Indian navy pilots are currently undergoing pilot training at US Navy facilities using the service’s Boeing/BAE T-45 Goshawk trainers – developments of the Hawk – under a collaborative agreement. The service hopes to acquire 18 new trainers for in-country instruction ahead of operations using its RSK MiG-29K carrierborne fighters and Sea Harrier FRS51s. The latter are to undergo modernisation by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), including integration of an Elta EL/M-2032 multi-mode radar and Rafael Derby beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles. The surplus FA2s are to be delivered without radars or air-to-air weapons.

“BAE Systems is aware that the Indian navy has a requirement for an advanced jet trainer and with the Hawk AJT recently being selected for the Indian air force we believe the aircraft is well placed to meet their requirements,” the company says. BAE won a $1.7 billion contact in early 2004 to supply 66 Hawk 132Ys for the air force. The first 24 will be manufactured in the UK and delivered by the end of 2008, with the remainder to be built by HAL for acceptance between 2008 and 2010.

Source: Flight International